Like many college students, I went into college with ‘undecided’ as my major. It always made me laugh, as though I was an indecisive person and needed help figuring this part out. In reality, the opposite is true. I’m typically quite logical and concrete in my thinking. When I went to college, I wanted to be a vocal performance major. My dad convinced me that it wasn’t a solid career choice (and, yes, I still miss singing). I chose Communications as my field of study because it seemed interesting and it involved a great deal of writing, which had always been one of my strengths. I also realized that I communicate effectively –so I assumed as I’d always make Dean’s List. I didn’t take into consideration that I’d need to take statistics and research (both classes I ended up thriving in), but at the time I made the decision based on the next four years. In hindsight, I wish I would have made the decision based on my future.
I find that most 18 year olds can’t see far passed 22. I think it’s normal. I always envied people who knew what their calling was at an early age. Even now, after changing careers, I wonder what things would’ve been like if I always knew I wanted to be an English teacher. I realize that I am not alone. Many writers and networking events focus solely on career changers. Career consultant Andrea Kay writes great columns for USA Today. She recently wrote about getting the career you want – purposefully.
Kay says, “A good deal of work needs to be done to choose a career for good reason: Finding work that fits who you are entails a search of yourself.” This is where many of us accept what is instead of challenging the status quo. I personally know many people who decided on a college major or career choice based on what a parent or peer thought was best.
Kay stresses that one must find out: greatest strengths, an idea of what you care about, and an understanding of your values and personality. I agree that it’s crucial to evaluate oneself. Whether you are a recent graduate, newly unemployed, or a career changer, self-reflection is important. I strongly suggest taking a personality quiz or meeting with a career counselor (or life coach) before jumping headfirst into something that you have little passion and drive for. As I'm sure you know, changing careers to find something more lucrative is not typically beneficial. Regardless of your salary, if you do something that you're not engaged in, you will end up getting little in return. Keep your eye on the prize and do what's best for you!
Have you changed careers or thought about changing careers? I want to hear from you. Please leave a comment below.